City settles with Rennert over unpaid water bills
Exact amount to be paid by owner of Sparrows Point steel mill will be determined by bankruptcy court
Above: New York financier Ira Rennert is settling with the city.
The company that once controlled the Sparrows Point steel mill has agreed to pay a portion of what it owes Baltimore City for unpaid water bills.
The settlement, subject to court action, results in about $5.5 million in approved claims against RG Steel and affiliates.
The settlement is set to be ratified tomorrow by the Board of Estimates.
The claims will then go back to U.S. bankruptcy court in Delaware and will be paid pro rata (proportionally) to other allowed claims against RG Steel.
How much the city will actually be paid from the RG Steel estate has not been determined, but it is likely to be a small amount of the money owed.
Controlled by billionaire Ira Rennert, RG Steel did not pay water charges, except for small increments, for months before the company went into bankruptcy in May 2012. Some unpaid bills dated back to the mill’s prior ownership by the Russian steelmaker Severstal.
Earlier this month, The Brew wrote a detailed account of the city’s water claims against Rennert’s company.
Legal Fees Also Unclear
The settlement represents a small victory for City Solicitor George Nilson who assembled a team of private lawyers from Venable LLP to pursue the city’s water claims.
It is unclear whether Venable’s legal fees will be deducted from the future settlement or will come from another city account. Attempts to reach Nilson today were unsuccessful.
Last month, Rennert’s RG Steel and related entities agreed to pay $6 million in severance and vacation pay to the 2,000 Sparrows Point workers who lost their jobs when the steel company collapsed in 2012.